A couple of years ago, I volunteered to be the chairperson the PTO Beautification Committee at my eldest son’s elementary school. I am the poster child for biting off more than I can chew, especially in an area where I have literally NO expertise. My skills lie in the organization, planning, and detailed checklists. Not in actually doing stuff like designing or creating spaces. So, for me gardening is a whole new world I don’t feel like I really understand or belong in.
The Staff Room
The original project that I signed up for was the replacement of old tables/chairs in the staff room. What it became was a full-scale renovation project after some generous people got involved. I have no idea how much time that summer I spent working on that project, but it was a lot! The good news about that project though is that once it was completed…my role in it was done. I did get to meet a lot of school staff working at the school so frequently though.
The story for that is here: http://www.capitalgazette.com/neighborhoods/ph-ac-cc-south-county-0903-20160901-story.html
When I say that I have no gardening experience, I am not exaggerating. When I agreed to help clean up the overgrown landscape at the school front, I knew that. I really hoped that someone (or many someones) would come out of the woodworks to assist me. Luckily, one person did volunteer.
While I have my own lawn and flower beds, the most my husband and I manage to do is throw some mulch on it and try to remove all the leaves stuck in the shrubbery after autumn. We mow, weed-wack the edges, and redig the trench that delineates that bed edge. That’s really it. Also, my husband does most of that.
Preparing to Garden
In anticipation of this project, I started doing what any tech-saavy adult would do…I looked it up on YouTube. From what kinds of gardening tools I should use to weed identification, I started to learn some of the basics. Even watching the videos though, I still felt like a fish out of water. One answer raised three more questions in its place.
I purchased some very basic tools from my local garden center/hardware store, threw on some old clothes, and went outside.
In the Garden
On my first go, I spent about 3 hours outside clearing the bed of leaves, old mulch, and dead plants. I am amazed that many of our plants have survived as well as they have considering the overgrowth of ground covering and strange mulching patterns. Apparently, we aren’t very good at clearing out our bushes and our English Laurel and Azalea bushes are not doing well as a result.
I still have the other side to do out front. And the back. Then I get to start the process of clearing out overgrowth (YouTube, here I come!) before moving on to…whatever steps come next (I hope YouTube will teach me that as well).
The good news is that I am slowly (very slowly) learning a little bit by getting out there and getting my hands dirty (except I’m not, because I bought gardening gloves). So that when I eventually move on to the school landscaping in April I will have some vague idea of what I am doing.